South Carolina Ordinance of Secession, with Dedication by Signer December 17-20, 1860,
At a convention of the People of the State of South Carolina, begun and holden at Columbia, on the Seventeenth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty, and thence continued by adjournment to Charleston, and there by divers adjournment to the Twentieth day of December in the same year.
An Ordinance to dissolve the Union between the State of South Carolina and other States united with her under the compact entitled "The Constitution of the United States of America" We, the people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained. That the Ordinance adopted by us in Convention, on the twenty-third day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also all Acts and parts of Acts of the General Assembly of this State, ratifying amendments of the said Constitution are hereby repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States under the name of "The Constitution of the United States of America" is hereby dissolved. Done at Charleston, the twentieth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty.
D. F. Jamison Delegate from Barnwell and
President of the Convention
and signed by 171 men, as well as
Attest: Benj. F. Arthur, Clerk of the Convention
Lith. of Evans & Cogswell, Charleston S.C.
and dedicated in ink: A present to my Daughter Mary E. Williams, by John D. Williams, April 12th 1861
Provenance: Williams Family hence by descent to present heir
Other Notes: One of approximately 200 copies lithographed by Evans & Cogswell in early 1861 for the 170 signers of the document and owned by one of the signers. Evans & Cogswell also advertised in the 15 April 1861 issue of the Charleston Courier that souvenir "copies of 'South Carolina Ordinance of Secession'" were for sale at their business at 3 Broad Street. This copy, however, was likely the one that John Drayton Williams (1798-1870), one of the five signers from Laurens District, received as a member of the Secession Convention. He inscribed the document to one of his daughters, Mary Elizabeth Williams (1835-1863) on 12 April 1861, the day that South Carolina troops began the bombardment of Fort Sumter in Charleston, an attack that resulted in the beginning of the Civil War. Mary Williams married Robert Garlington, a professor at Newberry College, in 1861 or 1862, but died in June 1863 without leaving any children. The ordinance may have been passed on to her youngest sister, Phoebe Young Williams (1848-1924), who later married Dr. James H. Witherspoon of York, South Carolina.
Over the past thirty years, only a handful of copies of the South Carolina ordinance have been offered at auction, and none have been a presentation copy signed and dated by a member of the convention. Williams apparently also resigned the document over his facsimile signature in the body of the ordinance.
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